Monitoring Audio at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 15th, 2013, 09:38 AM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chislehurst, London
Posts: 1,724
Monitoring Audio

January is always my time for reviewing all my production techniques, so I apologize now if my questions sound too basic.

I recently posted a question about audio levels for output and have improved on my original settings of -2 or -3 db by using -10 to -6db. Now I am questioning which is the best way to monitor audio, do I base my final settings on the sound from headphones, ( Sennheiser HD 25) or on my Yamaha 50 studio monitors. For internet output should I make a quality judgement using desktop speakers (not cheap speakers).

I know many viewers of my videos may be using computer speakers or built in laptop speakers etc. Do I optimize the sound so it sounds good on my expensive studio monitors or do I aim to make it sound good on cheaper speakers?
__________________
Eyes are a deaf manís ears. Ears are a blind manís eyes
Vincent Oliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2013, 09:46 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: Monitoring Audio

Always good to do quality checks on decent speakers but then mix to suit a variety of things from big studio down to desktop or even TV speakers.

Mixing should be about removing what is not required such as low frequency rumble on dialogue but then adding small amounts of Eq to improve things and bring some sparkle to speech etc, it is then about creating a sound scape that fits for the pictures and compliments them by adding stereo backgrounds and sound effects where required.

The final mix should be well balanced for frequency content and each element should fit in with the overall balance which once again should reflect what is happening with the visuals.

A quality and balance check using main monitors and a smaller reference such as a good quality TV should enable you to judge that things are well balanced and the overall soundscape should not change hugely when selecting each monitoring source.

At most of the dubbing suites I have worked in we had large dynaudio reference monitors but also had the large TV hooked up to check domestic balance for video or film, I still do this at home and have a decent pair or dynaudio BM10's but can send the audio to my LG TV for domestic checking. I also set the volume level of each set of speakers beforehand and never tend to change it whilst mixing as that can affect your judgement. One of these can also be useful if you want to switch monitoring between main, some desktop and TV speakers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000MJ40D2/?tag=hydra0b-21&hvadid=9556681509&ref=asc_df_B000MJ40D2
As for pure levels they tend to be a delivery requirement rather than for checking balance and I always have a meter available just to check things but tend to just listen to the balance rather than looking at levels, of course 33 years of experience comes into it but a good mix should sound acceptable on a variety of playback sources.

You can do quality checking on headphones and the HD25 are very good but it is better to mix using loudspeakers in a room that reflects the delivery situation.

I think a key thing is to play some music that you are familiar with or even hook up a DVD player and play some example mixes of TV and film productions and get familiar with how they sound on your main monitors and your smaller desktop or TV references.

It isn't all about levels but more about how the sound is mixed and balanced together, OK film may use more of a dynamic range but what you need to do is find what suits your own system and it may be easier to just mix and balance things first and then worry about the delivery levels after. I sometimes just do one mix at broadcast levels with peaks to -10db but then output a second delivery file that has raised levels to -6 for DVD or on-line use but the mix and overall balance will be the same!
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/

Last edited by Gary Nattrass; January 15th, 2013 at 10:18 AM.
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2013, 10:06 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chislehurst, London
Posts: 1,724
Re: Monitoring Audio

Thanks Gary,

a useful reply that confirms some of my thoughts. I just want to ensure that when video & audio leaves my setup it is as near perfect as possible. I know that I have no control on how other people listen or view my work, but at least I try to work to a quality level that sounds good at this end.
__________________
Eyes are a deaf manís ears. Ears are a blind manís eyes
Vincent Oliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2013, 11:01 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 1,844
Re: Monitoring Audio

I'm with Gary. Normally, I will check and mix on multiple speaker systems, large and small pro monitors, stereo speakers, large and small TVs and computer speakers. Having one system with a (good) sub-woofer can ID infrasonic issues that get through unnoticed otherwise. The goal is to have it sound good on all. Above all, check mono compatibility. FWIW, I use a single Auratone to check it in mono the all important mid-range levels... and a oscilloscope.
Rick Reineke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2013, 11:06 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: Monitoring Audio

It always used to P me off at The Bill and other places as we spent a lot of time mixing to finite levels to make sure it sounded great and then the viewing panel of producers and secretaries used to listen to a crappy VHS or DVD on their TV and criticise what we had done, they would never come down to the dubbing suite to listen to it properly.

I also did the post on the Rolling Stones in Barcelona for SKY in 1990 and I felt for the music mixer as Mick just listened to a rough mix on a bad VHS and made him do it all again.

Things tend to be a bit better these days as the TV and delivery channels for You Tube and DVD etc tend to be more accurate and reflect what you do at the front end but some horrible things can still happen but at least we don't have dolby mis-tracking to worry about or optical prints for film release.

It is always good too if you have the time to sit and do a sep sound mix rather than try to do it whilst editing as it allows you the time to concentrate on the audio balance without the distraction of editing, I still dub via OMF into pro tools but track lay all sound in final cut pro and then export the final mixes to go back on the FCP timeline. I always compress too but this has to be done with care and a lot of the time it is there to just control the final output levels so I don't have to worry about them but that is another story!
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2013, 07:19 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Oxfordshire, UK
Posts: 974
Re: Monitoring Audio

The HD 25 headphones are absolutely superb for listening to detail that other things miss.

The Yamaha 50 monitors are very low end, so I assume you do also have other monitors that you have not mentioned (my own small near-field monitors are over £2,000 a pair!

I would first do the mix on good monitors and check with the headphones (as shey will reveal problems that the monitors may miss).

I would also check it on cheap monitors and computer loudspeakers to make sure it still sounds OK - though I would not compromise the quality too much so it sounds good on the cheap stuff.
__________________
John Willett - Sound-Link ProAudio and Circle Sound Services
President: Fťdťration Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons
John Willett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2013, 07:45 AM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chislehurst, London
Posts: 1,724
Re: Monitoring Audio

No other monitors, the Yamaha 50M are the only pair that I have (other than horrid computer speakers that are in my loft somewhere). I do not produce music mixes only spoken voice recordings. I don't think that I need expensive speakers as most, that I have heard, seem to add extra bass to voice recordings. The Yamaha speakers are not too bad on that account although still slightly heavy on the bass. I love the HD25 head[phones, although they do not give me a spacial sound.
__________________
Eyes are a deaf manís ears. Ears are a blind manís eyes
Vincent Oliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2013, 10:59 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: Monitoring Audio

One handy hint with desktop or nearfield speakers is to listen to them from a distance as well, walking around the room will allow you to judge what effects any EQ or compression is doing, hooking up a TV is good for that too as the TV tends to be at a distance from the listener and you can get a better judge of the balance.

For speech I tend to roll the low frequencies off at 80-100 hz but add a little at 150hz if required to warm things up, I also add some sparkle at 3.5-6k but it all depends on your EQ system and how the voice was recorded in the first place.

Beware of proximity effect when doing voices with a cardioid mic very close and use the LF filters in the mic if they have it, I tend to prefer omni mic's for very close voice recording and I use a rode NT2000 in my hme studio.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:55 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network